Enzo, my two-and-a-half year old GSD, is otherwise a very strong and confident soul. Born out of parents with stellar Schutzhund and IPO records, Enzo himself is a star performer when it comes to obedience and protection training. Gearing up fast for his BH trials coming up this May, Enzo is very protective of his home too and is a threat to all intruders and trespassers.
He however hates to stay away from me and Hubby. Whenever he’s out in the yard and we need to shut the yard door even for 5 minutes, he bursts into squeaks. Whenever, we get tired of playing “Bring” with him and plan on doing something else that entertains us, his attention-seeking squeals are strong enough to bring the roof down. Since he can’t ride wooden stairs, whenever we’re in our second floor and he is “left out” in first floor, his screams get unbearable. Hence, we decided to try some correcting measures to curb this needy side of his otherwise confident behavior. Here’re some quick tips we learnt during this process that may come handy if you’re looking for ways to tackle separation anxiety in puppies.
1. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore: Never ever reward the wrong behavior. When he’s trying to grab your attention by squeaking, don’t entertain him. Instead, ignore him, turn away from him and don’t interact with him even if your heart breaks. Once he stops this needy activity, immediately get normal with him and cuddle him so that he learns to differentiate between the right behavior and the wrong behavior.
2. Teach him there’s a fixed time for everything: When it’s play time, he’ll surely get to play. But he has to realize play time doesn’t continue 24×7. Make him work (follow some command) to earn his toys and the play time; he needs to know nothing comes free. When you decide play time is over, return the toys to where they came from and ask him to go to “Bed”.
3. Train, Train, Train: Teach him the right behavior and reinforce it positively with utmost consistency at all occasions. If you’ve to tell him the same thing a million times a day, please do so. Eventually dogs like to be told what to do and how to behave; so repeating the same command over and over again will actually be helpful. Always remember to show excited applause when he behaves right and reward him.
These tricks are working so far (Knock On The Wood ) and Enzo is growing more independent and self sufficient. Hopefully, this trend will continue and the new year will see a more mature Enzo vom Haus Tyson.